The 5am Wake Up Challenge

My challenge for this month is to wake up at 5am to write.

5am is extreme, but it’s peaceful. My mind is fresh and rested and I can work on my book (I’m writing a book about 30 day challenges) without interruption. No kids, no buzzing cellphone, no noise. The time allows me to be creative and focused in a way that my busy, chopped up stay-at-home-mom-day doesn’t permit, and the work is always better. Always.

All I have to do is get out of bed at 5am. Here’s the plan:

Last week… I created a daily calendar of what chapters/sections I will tackle each morning. When I get up, I work only on that chapter and nothing else. Placing constraints on what I can and cannot write about helps me stay on track because it reduces the number of decisions I need to make. My job becomes easier because I know exactly what I must accomplish in the next 60-90 minutes.

The night before…

  • To fall asleep more easily,
    • no food/drink after 7:30pm (except water)
    • no screens after 9pm
    • stretch & read
    • lights out at 9:30pm
  • To get started in the morning,
    • close apps and tabs on computer (to prevent distraction)
    • open writing app
    • leave computer in the living room for the next morning
    • double check alarm and place iPhone on the opposite side of the bedroom (forcing me to get up when it goes off)

At 5am…

  • To wake myself up, I
    • immediately get out of bed to turn the alarm off, no hesitation
    • do 5 pushups and 5 jumping jacks
    • splash cold water on my face
  • To wake my brain up, I start morning pages, or 750 words of stream of consciousness writing (approx 15 minutes)
  • Finally, I start writing until the kids wake up

I don’t allow myself to check texts, email or social media. If I find myself bored, stuck or distracted, I’ll either pause for a quick meditation or stand up and stretch. Then I get back to work.

2 days in…

As expected, those first 30 minutes are tough. I’m grumpy and groggy and can think of nothing except how sleepy I am. But then I write, and I get into the writing. The bitterness is replaced with energy and a sense of great satisfaction, knowing that I had the self discipline to get up at 5am and work.

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